It is amazing. My husband and I are watching the same thing and we’re seeing completely different “facts”. How does that happen? I admit, I’m biased. And so is my husband. What’s interesting is that we are not divided by gender, but by political leaning.
This past week has been pretty interesting with the testimonies and evidence brought before the Senate Judiciary Committee regarding the sexual assault allegations against Judge Kavanaugh. My husband and I mostly watched the proceedings separately, and as we got together to discuss how we thought things were going, it was like we were talking about a completely different hearing. What we were hearing and interpreting were COMPLETELY different. He could see the arrogance and lack of humility. I could see the frustration of having dirty laundry aired out from a lifetime ago and proof of a life otherwise well-lived.
To clarify, we both agree on a bunch of things surrounding this issue. We both agree that equality between men and women still has a long way to go, that women are still being the typical targets of sexual harassment and assault, and that nothing is going to change unless we do something to shift how society responds to this whole issue. I hear over and over again from women that there’s no point in reporting sexual assaults like this, because nothing good ever happens. No consequences for the guy and the victim gets vilified.
This is something we simply must change.
So, after all my husband and I can agree on, I am just dumbfounded that we watch the same testimonies and questioning, hear all the same evidence, and he comes away feeling it went one way while I feel the opposite.
Which is right? Mine, obviously.
No, I’m kidding. I don’t have all the right answers and neither does he. Yet as a nation, we have to decide what to do about this present situation. And I have an even higher standard. I want the conclusion to be a win-win, not one group gloating while the other group plans their next move. Win-lose has been the political norm but it doesn’t have to be that way.
I’ve been thinking long and hard about how I will feel depending on the outcome of these hearings (and now FBI investigation).
As an exercise I decided to test out each outcome and see what good can come of it. I’m going to make an important assumption about the investigative process and assume that there is no conclusive evidence to support either Dr. Ford or Judge Kavanaugh and we are left making that decision based on the information we already have. As far as the win-win aspects of my scenarios, it mostly depends on how we respond to it and not so much on what the Senate decides to do.
If Judge Kavanaugh is confirmed and sworn in as the next Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, it won’t be the end of the world. If he did do what he is accused of doing when he was 17 years old, there is still an underlying message that we can choose our own path, not the path we started when we were inexperienced teenagers. We can get up from past mess-ups and do better. Our mistakes do not have to define us.
But, we cannot let young people (or old people or anyone) think it’s okay to treat others this way. Turning a blind eye or passing over these events is destroying our society — as it has been destroying it for centuries. We must respect each other. We must stand up for one another and give each other courage and confidence to do the right thing, no matter what. I admit, I’m beginning to wonder if we will be able to send that message while swearing in Kavanaugh as a justice.
If Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination is withdrawn, which my husband predicts, and he is not confirmed as the next Justice of the Supreme Court, it won’t be the end of the world. He has proven to be a talented lawyer and judge and will move forward with his life. Even if he did not do what Dr. Ford accuses him of doing when he was 17, it sends a clear message that this kind of behavior is simply unacceptable. Because, while Judge Kavanaugh may not have done this particular act, Dr. Ford represents herself and all those who have been deeply affected by the stupid, thoughtless acts of others. By giving the clear message that this behavior is unacceptable, at any age, our culture will continue to shift away from viewing this behavior as normal and expected.
But, we cannot let people feel they are beyond redemption. We can move toward supportive, positive ways to lift men and boys (and women and girls) above what our culture has defined them to be.
So the win-win isn’t about whether Judge Kavanaugh is confirmed or not — it’s what we can learn from all of this. And that is nothing but the truth.